The next phase of community consultation on a proposal to build a mountain bike trail network on Mount Canobolas begins with a community forum in February.
The forum is part of a multi-faceted consultation process involving stakeholders with specific expertise around the spiritual, biological, structural and economic factors of the proposed development.
The community's views on the bike trail proposal are now being sought.
In October Orange City Council appointed Bathurst firm The Environmental Factor to complete an independent assessment, and work with track designers Dirt Art to see if tracks could be positioned to avoid sensitive areas
A team of experts, including environmental scientists, archaeologists, cultural experts and special track designers have started work with preliminary site visits.
Orange Mayor Reg Kidd said the preliminary work had identified a range of areas on the mountain which need to be avoided should the proposal go ahead.
"The initial proposal we put to the public was merely a concept plan showing what was theoretically possible on the mountain," Cr Kidd said.
"The original concept has been useful in generating discussion around the possibilities for tracks to attract mountain bikers to the region to enjoy the beautiful mountain, along with other trail user groups.
"But I want to make it very clear, we are starting from scratch and the first steps we are taking is to identify every single area of significance on that mountain so we can determine if tracks are possible."
Orange City Council's Sport and Recreation Policy Committee chair Jason Hamling said consultants had already identified a range of threatened species living on the mountain.
"We knew there were barking owls in the area and it's great to have confirmation from the consultants that they've recorded those bird calls.
"They've also identified yellow bellied gliders living there as well as probable habitations of squirrel gliders.
"There are also sites of significance for Wiradjuri people and several members of the community are working closely with the team's archaeologists to identify and conserve those areas to ensure they remain protected from any track design."
A community information session is at Orange Civic Theatre on February 25 at 5.30pm.
RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 02 6393 8000.
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